Flowers for beneficial insects
In a healthy and diverse garden, you would expect to see a very wide range of beneficial insects as well as the pollinating bees, wasps and flies mentioned in Section 1. These ‘good guys’ include the familiar ladybirds, hoverflies, lacewings, spiders, predatory bugs and, the most important group of all, the parasitic wasps.
The latter are usually very small and kill pests by laying eggs in them or on them. The egg hatches into a larva (maggot) which consumes the pest while it is still living. The larva then forms a pupa (chrysalis) in the dying pest and a new wasp emerges from it. If these beneficial groups have access only to water, they usually die within 3 days. If, however, they are provided with SNAP (shelter, nectar, alternative food and pollen), they can live for 45 days, killing pests throughout that time.
The Beneficial Insect Blend provided by Kings Seeds produces flowers that generate SNAP. You can expect fewer pests and no use of pesticides in your garden as a result.
As explained in section 1, sow some of the seeds on cultivated soil or in drills (grooves) in a sunny spot in your garden, add a little fertiliser and water frequently. It won’t be long before the seedlings appear and after that will come the attractive flowers. Sow some more every month until March.
Once these plants flower; Identify each flowering species in the mix. Draw the flowers.
Observe & identify what insects are attracted to the flowers. Count the numbers of insect species for a 5-minute period and see how the number changes through time.
Capture some insects, observe with the magnifying glass then release. Care: avoid common wasps, honey & bumble bees due to potential stings.
- You may also see other beneficial insects on phacelia such as tiny New Zealand hoverflies and some butterflies. Hoverflies usually harvest pollen from phacelia and on still, humid and warm days can be abundant.
How Does Your Garden Grow Kit
This unique kit is based on research carried out in the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University in association with the BHU Organics Trust and Kings Seeds. The kit will help you to discover a number of important things such as the acidity of your soil (slightly acid for potatoes, slightly alkaline for brassicas) and how to attract bees to your crops and ladybirds to eat your pests.